Here’s another couple of questions that I received from one of my teachers yesterday:
I have 2 ipads in my classroom that I would like to utilize more than I am at the moment. Do you have any suggestions, a website that I can go to for educational helps with the ipad, a list of cool apps, etc.
And, I am really wanting to get my students to use the ipad for presentations. Do you have a suggestion of an app that will allow my students to take pics and video with the ipad, add pics from the internet, write, etc in presentation or storybook format?
These are great questions. With over 500,000 apps to choose from, it’s a bit daunting to try and find what you are looking for. There are several sites out there that are curating and organizing apps a little better than Apple is doing, but what you are looking for are recommended apps from other Utah educators.
The Utah regional technology trainers (the other people from around the state that do what I do) are keeping a list of their favorite/best apps for the iPad and other iOS devices. We’ve tried to categorize them as best as we can, and the list includes links to the App Store so that you can quickly view more information about them and get them downloaded to your device. Here’s the short URL to that list:
UEN is in the process of developing a great searchable database of educational apps for all devices. The list is a little limited right now (they are still asking for recommendations), but it’s another good place to take a look.
One other link that I’d like to share is from a series of presentations with the theme of ‘Interesting Ways‘ from Tom Barrett, an educator in England. He comes up with a topic, and shares it out to his followers on Twitter (@tombarrett). They share their ideas, and he compiles them into collaborative, interactive, and ever growing online presentations. The “Interesting Ways to use an iPad in the Classroom” is a great way to inspire you to do more with the tool than you could have ever thought to on your own.
Now, for your second question. With the integrated camera and microphone, the iPad is an amazing tool to create presentations, podcasts, and movies. I’ll point you to 5 different apps that I like for this, and you can decide which you’d like to give your students access to – it could be all of them!
Before I do, however, let’s talk about how to get images on to the iPad to use for these apps. There are many ways to do this, and I’ll go from the easiest to most complex:
- Camera. With the iPad 2, you can quickly and simply use the Camera app to take photos or video. These are saved in the Photo app in the Camera Roll collection. PhotoBooth can also be used to take funny or silly photos, which are saved in the same place.
- Internet. If you want to use an image from the web, in the Safari app you can simply do a long-press on the image you want, and the iPad will display a menu after a second or two to ask if you want to Open, Save Image or Copy it. Taping the Save Image option will save it to the Camera Roll as well.
- Screen Capture. You can save an image of whatever is on the entire iPad screen by pressing the only two buttons on the device – the Home button on the front (the button with the square) and the On/Off button on the top/side. When you click these two at the same time, the screen will flash and you’ll hear a camera shutter sound. The captured image will be saved to the Camera Roll.
- Email or Dropbox. If an image is saved on another device or computer, it can be transferred via email to the user. I know that you are in an elementary setting, so this may not be feasible. You could also set up Dropbox on your computer and download the Dropbox app on the iPad. Drop the image (or file or video or whatever) into your Dropbox folder on your computer, and it’s instantly available on the iPad through the app. It can then be saved to the Camera Roll.
Now that you know all of the ways to create and harvest images to use with these presentation apps, let’s talk about those. I’ll start with iMovie. This is THE best app for creating short videos and presentations on the iPad using video and images captured from the device, or any other images in the Photo app. It is very simple and intuitive to use, creates great looking videos, and these videos can be easily shared back to the Camera Roll, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, iTunes, or even the CNN iReport!
My next favorite is Strip Designer. This one can be used in conjunction with iMovie or the other apps that I’ll mention because it creates comic strip like images from the photos on the iPad which you can then use in a movie or narrated story. It includes fun text styles, comic graphics, and speech bubbles that you can add to over 100 page layout options. Once the page is set, it can be saved back out the Camera Roll to share or use with other apps.
Next is Animoto. This is an app that is also an online service that takes images or video of yours, title/text slides that you create, music of your choosing or from their extensive library and creates an animated video remix that can be posted online or viewed from the app. The app guides you through the process, and they are simple and fun to create. You can get an educator account for free that will allow you to create longer videos online.
I’ll lump the last two together because they work in the same way and produce a similar product. Storyrobe and SonicPics allow you to take images
from the iPad, order them in your sequence, and record a voice narration over the top of the images to create a video slideshow. Storyrobe stories are only viewable on the device or on the Storyrobe Web site. SonicPics videos can be emailed, shared to a computer via WiFi, or viewed from the device. They are both iPhone apps, but work just fine on the iPad.